Why is smoking such a hard habit to kick?

Why is smoking such a hard habit to kick?

Some say nicotine is even more addictive than heroine.  The hardest habit to break….even when you know it is doing harm to your health and to those around you.  Plus, the cost!  If you smoke an average of 10 a day, it works out at well over $100 a week – or over $6,000 per annum. A packet a day – well, that is over $12,000 a year!  What else could you spend that on?  Groceries?  Treats for the kids?  The mortgage?  Or maybe even a holiday…. A pretty good one at that!

So you know you want to stop but you just can’t.  You need them, right?  Life is too stressful – cigarettes calm you down.  You’ll pile on the weight if you stop…..Actually, none of these statements are true.  Cigarettes are a stimulant, not a relaxant.  They also contain thousands of different toxic chemicals including arsenic and formaldehyde.  Your body certainly doesn’t need them.  You might remember your first ever cigarette – chances are you body told you then it didn’t like them but for whatever reason you carried on smoking until your body learnt how to process them.

Nicotine may or not be an addiction – but if you can survive a few hours whilst you sleep without it, chances are that you will survive days, weeks and months without it too. What you tell yourself are stories – but they become your reality.  Every time you tell yourself one of these stories it becomes more entrenched in your unconscious mind. So, change your story.  Tell yourself something more useful.

It is actually all a big con.  You feel stressed so reach for a fag….you go through the ritual of lighting it and then take a deep inhalation.  Your body has been programmed to automatically react to this and it releases dopamine – the ‘feel good’ chemical.  So you assume it is the cigarette which makes you feel better. It isn't. Your body can do this without the cigarette. 

Laughing, singing, dancing, remembering a time when you felt really happy/excited/proud can do the same thing – your body releases dopamine and you feel good.  Even stopping what you are doing long enough to focus on what is around you and taking some deep, long breaths of fresh air can make you feel better and provide a dopamine hit! So why continue smoking?

Wouldn’t it better to be in control of your own emotions and reactions rather than be controlled by these big corporates who are making so much money out of your habit?  Wouldn't it be better to use your money on something better than literally see it going up in smoke? Get your freedom back!  Get your health back!  Release the toxins and tar from your lungs.

Did you know that the cigarette companies make over $55billion a year?  It is in their interests to keep you hooked and keep you believing some of the myths.

You simply need to recalibrate your automatic settings.  Become aware of the stories you are telling yourself.  Yes, it needs some effort – just like any change does – but the effort would be so worth it, right?

95% of what we do is actually ‘controlled’ by our UNCONSCIOUS mind – our beliefs, emotions, habits, dreams – automatic actions like breathing, circulating our blood, digesting food – we don’t have to think about, it just happens, doesn’t it?  The same for many of our habits - including smoking!  Only 5% of our behaviour and thought are managed consciously – our planning, reasoning, willpower.

It is a bit like the captain of the ship giving orders and setting the direction – and the crew making it happen – BUT when they are used to going in one direction and doing things a certain way, getting their cooperation to change can be very challenging – but it IS possible - you need to get their attention and then give them a good reason to change.

Think of the last time you learnt a new skill – maybe learning to drive or learning a new language.  Or way back, learning to read, or to speak, or to count…or it might be getting to grips with a new sport.  The process is no different when it comes to learning the habit of ‘being a non-smoker’ – you are replacing one set of behaviours with a new set.  First off, it feels really difficult and challenging but with effort, focus and patience it gets easier and easier until you can just do it without really thinking about it – this when the unconscious mind has taken over.

Just like fixing your car – unless you are a mechanic - it is much more efficient to take your car to an expert who has the right tools at hand to fix it.  Same with learning how to be a non-smoker, find an expert who has the skill and the tools to help you – ultimately it will save you a lot of time and potentially pain!! Yup – anyone can give up smoking themselves – or you can look on Youtube/Google for a generic process and you may stumble across something that works for you.  Or you can substitute cigarettes with a patch or a pill or vaping and, if that works for you – great!   


As a hypnotherapist myself, I work with variety of tools including coaching and goal setting, planning, CBT – cognitive behaviour therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, breathing techniques for reset, visualisation, havening and actual hypnosis. 

I select the appropriate tools for each of my clients – based on their specific needs.  I also train them on how to use these tools themselves.  It is about building awareness, getting clarity on what the desired future looks like for the client, it is about finding the right strategies to overcome cravings, triggers and associations.  As many smokers discover, will-power alone makes it hard to quit so you need lots of 'why-power'.

The actual hypnosis is a part of the therapy session and this is totally customised to the specific needs and goals of the client– and they receive a recording of the hypnosis for use after our one-on-one session.

It can take as few as 2-3 sessions to get a client totally smokefree.  Sometimes it takes longer as there are other issues such as past trauma or response to stress that also need unravelling.  Once again, one size does not fit all!  What I can totally guarantee, however, is that I am there for my clients throughout their journey.

If you want to find out more about how I can help you become smoke-free, contact me now to arrange a complimentary 20 min consultation via phone - tracey@livingbydesign.nz or 021 169 8080

Posted: Thursday 30 June 2022